We take our responsibility seriously, and part of being the best in this business is keeping up with new technology. Thermal Imaging not exactly new in this business, but it has seen a recent increase in popularity because inspectors are discovering that it helps to provide a more complete inspection.The infrared camera provides graphic representation of temperature anomalies in a home or business. It is absolutely outstanding for discovering moisture leaks and intrusions, insulation deficiencies, and electrical issues. Small leaks from upstairs bathrooms often go unnoticed for long periods of time because they never leak enough to show through drywall, but small amounts of consistent water can easily lead to mold, rot, and deterioration before the source is ever visible to the naked eye. The thermal camera often finds leaks and moisture intrusions because the areas that are wet on the back side usually have a slightly cooler surface temperature than the surrounding dry areas. The camera also is able to perceive 'hot spots' in a home's electrical system. Areas inside the service panel often begin to overheat before failure and loose connections at plugs or junctions do the same. The camera is able to detect the heat signatures of these events and identify the need for repair before damage is caused. If you are curious about the technology and its possible benefit to the inspection of your home, take a look at the pictures and videos below to see how it has benefitted previous home-buyers.
First, it's important to understand how the technology works in general. It is not x-ray vision. The camera detects apparent differences in surface temperature and then provides a graphical representation. The image to the left is actually just a wall. When I put my hand on the wall, heat from my hand is transferred to the wall. Even after removing my hand, that heat remains on the wall and remains visible in the infrared spectrum.
The left-hand picture is a closet ceiling in a two-story home that had just been renovated; new paint, new carpet, the whole thing. There was absolutely no visual indication of any issue in the area. The center picture, however, is a thermal image of the same area. The purple spot is an area with a cooler surface temperature and its shape indicates a possible leak. The right-hand picture is a moisture meter confriming the presence of moisture. In this case, the seal on the toilet was compromised in an upstairs bathroom.
This picture is simply meant to illustrate how excessive heat is identified. The image on the left is self-explanatory. The image on the right is an identical thermal image showing that the attic is 153 degrees.
The left-hand image clearly shows that the left leg is sigificantly hotter than the other two legs in this service panel. Thermal Imaging very clearly identifies electrical issues that may not be visible to the naked eye. The right-hand image shows a hot breaker in a service panel. Thermal Imaging is outstanding technology for use in home inspections.